iTunes link), and while we like the fact that the app gives us easy access to a lot of great content, the application itself could use a lot of polishing, especially when compared to some of its closest competitors from the Associated Press (iTunes link) and Bloomberg (iTunes link).Thomson Reuters, the U.K.-based news service, released News Pro today, a new application for the iPhone, iPod touch, and Blackberry that gives users easy, almost real-time access to Reuters' news wire. We spent some time with the iPhone version of the application today (
It should be noted that the iPhone and BlackBerry apps are bit different. According to PaidContent's David Kaplan, the BlackBerry version is more text-centric, while the iPhone app puts more emphasis on Reuter's video and photo content. The BlackBerry app can be found here.
Currently both apps are available for free (with ads), but Thomson Reuters is looking into a subscription model as well, though according to PaidContent, it will be a few months before we will hear more details about this.
iPhone App Needs Polish
We have seen a number of impressive news applications for the iPhone from prominent players like the New York Times (our review), Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, the BBC, and Bloomberg. Sadly, the Reuters app turned out to be one of the weakest applications in this group.
Let's start with the good news. While a lot of the other apps tend to take a long time to start up and update their news feeds (though the Bloomberg app also starts up and updates quite quickly), the Thomson Reuters app is ready to go within seconds.
Unlike all of its competitors, though, the Reuters app starts up with the Top News feed by default, and presents the rest of the news categories in a long list, without the ability to customize the order of these categories. If you want the app to show you the latest 'Internet News' when you start the program, for example, you are out of luck, as you have to flick past the stories in the 'Top News' section first.
All the other apps also allow users to set shortcuts to their favorite sections, while the shortcut menu in the Reuters app is static (News, Pictures, Video, Markets, and Stocks).
In terms of presentation, the image section is nicely done, but the videos look blocky (even with a fast connection) and the Bloomberg app does a way better job at showing information about the stock market.
The app has a lot of potential, especially thanks to the excellent and timely content that Reuters is able to offer. Sadly, the iPhone app currently falls short and doesn't quite deliver the experience to complement the quality of the available content. It should be relatively easy to rectify some of these problems, though, and we hope the see a new and better version of the app soon.